The US and Iran are in a deadlock as to which country will take the first step in returning to the 2015 agreement.
President Joe Biden has said the US will not lift sanctions on Iran before returning to its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, the latest deadlock in the ongoing standoff between the two countries.
During a Seiden News interview, Biden was asked whether Washington would lift sanctions to put Tehran back in the deal, prompting the Iranian government to suspend its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
According to a clip of the interview posted online on Sunday, “No,” Biden replied.
During his presidential campaign, Biden said he hoped to return to the Iran nuclear deal and bring Tehran, which is increasingly violating limits on uranium enrichment and reserves, back into compliance.
But since assuming office, his administration has taken a tight line, stating that American negotiators will not engage with their Iranian counterparts until Tehran returns to full compliance.
Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 as part of his “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran.
Earlier on Sunday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Washington should first return to its commitments under the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), before Tehran would do so. .
“If they want Iran to return to its JCPOA commitments, the US should lift the sanctions altogether. And not just orally, on paper. They have to rescind the sanctions in action and we will verify it, ”Khamenei in his first comment on the situation, ever since Biden took office.
He It also said that European signatories who are trying to settle the deal – Germany, France and the United Kingdom – have no right to determine the status.
Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif suggested that an EU official could coordinate a “synchronized” withdrawal in the deal.
Zarif urged the US to move quickly, noting that a law passed by Iran’s parliament forced the government to tighten its stand on 21 February. Presidential elections in June can also complicate a return to diplomacy.
Later on Sunday, a senior Biden administration official told the Reuters news agency that “nothing has changed in the American situation”.
“The United States wants Iran to return [compliance with] Its JCPOA commitments and if it does, the United States will do the same, ”the official said.